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One year later: New efforts to memorialize Jackie DeFoe, son

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Den Holman and Tammy Suomi

DULUTH, MN -- In March 2020, Jackie DeFoe, her toddler, and her unborn child were murdered on the Fond du Lac Reservation.

In October, Sheldon Thompson was indicted by a grand jury on murder charges, but his trial still has not happened.

While friends and family wait to see justice done, there is a new effort to memorialize DeFoe and cope with her loss.

One year since the murder, Tammy Suomi still grieves the loss of her child and grandchild.

"Jackie and baby were two beautiful souls," Suomi said. "They were always laughing and smiling. They were always together. I miss her so much. I miss them every day."

Deb Holman has supported her friend through the pain of the past year.

"All I've seen from Tammy all year, besides just the sadness, is strength and wanting justice for Jackie and to make this part of her purpose," Holman said.

The two are raising money to buy a headstone for DeFoe and her son Kevin's gravesite.

"Tammy has picked out a stone and has a photograph that it would be a picture of Jackie and baby Kevin etched in the stone," Holman said.

Suomi said the headstone would help remember DeFoe and her son as they deserve.

"There's a couple of bears on the bottom because she was a momma bear," Suomi said.

There is still a ways to go before they will see justice done.

"It's kind of frustrating because it's going to take a long time to get to justice, and that's the thing I'm having the hardest time with: that I have no control over it," Suomi said.

While she is forced to wait, Suomi said this headstone is the last thing she can do for her daughter and grandson.

The headstone will cost $8,000.

As of Friday evening, we heard a government group will help cover part of the cost.

Holman is also looking for more ideas on how to raise money for it.

Click here to access the GoFundMe page.

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Kendall Jarboe

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